Why should I worry about glaucoma?
Most people never see it coming. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the United States, yet over 70,000 people lose their vision to it every year. In fact, two out of every 100 people are affected by glaucoma; mostly because there are no early warning signs to the patient. Get Treated today in Ocala, FL by Dr. Croley and his years of experience.
How does it occur?
Glaucoma is caused when the drainage system within the eye is blocked either by trauma, hemorrhage or a physiologic nature. An increase in pressure within the eye causes pressure to build around the sensitive optic nerve fibers thus destroying the nerve and one’s vision. This is usually a slowly progressive loss of vision which goes unnoticed by the individual.
Is glaucoma hereditary?
The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. If members of your immediate family have glaucoma, you are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population. Studies have shown that a family history of glaucoma increases your risk by four to nine times.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
Unfortunately there isn’t a way to prevent glaucoma. But you can prevent significant damage to your vision through regular eye exams and early treatment. That’s the evil thing about glaucoma — in its most prevalent form, primary open-angle glaucoma, there are no symptoms and vision loss is slow and progressive. The first vision loss will usually occur in the peripheral vision.
But during your regular eye exams with Dr. Croley and our team at Central Florida Eye Institute, we can spot glaucoma early and we can work to keep the pressure from building in the eye and damaging the optic nerve. Early diagnosis is key to preventing damage to your vision. From there, the other key is to be diligent about using the eye drops that manage the pressure in your eyes. Because people aren’t experiencing any symptoms they can become complacent and skip eye drop dosages. This simply increases the chances of vision loss.
Symptoms vary depending on the specific type. The types of glaucoma include Chronic Open-Angle, Congenital, Acute Angle-Closure, and Secondary Glaucoma.
- Chronic Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common type and occurs primarily in persons over the age of 40. It develops as a result of aging and is symptomless, sometimes causing irreversible damage before it is discovered.
- Congenital Glaucoma is present at birth and is caused by a defect in the eye’s drainage system.
- Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma is caused when the colored portion of the eye presses against the drainage system causing a blockage. Symptoms include severe pain in and around the eye, nausea, blurred vision and seeing rainbow-like halos. If not treated promptly, vision loss may be permanent.
- Secondary Glaucoma results from other health problems of the body or trauma to the eye.
What is the first sign that I have glaucoma?
The tricky thing about glaucoma is that it does not exhibit early symptoms. Primary open-angle type can develop in one or both eyes and the person’s vision stays normal during the early onset of the disease. Once glaucoma is beginning to damage your vision, the first signs will be a loss of peripheral vision. Patients will miss objects to their side or out of the corner of their eye. As it progresses, you will feel as if you’re looking through a tunnel.
Is glaucoma painful?
The disease does not cause any pain. That is one of the problems with this disease. People don’t feel anything, and their vision doesn’t change initially despite the fact that the glaucoma is causing permanent damage. Again, this is why regular eye exams are so important, as Dr. Croley can spot glaucoma early on and we can manage the pressure in your eyes.
Comprehensive yearly eye exams for those over 40 which include a measurement of pressure in the eye (tonometry), dilation, as well as another diagnostic testing can detect glaucoma early on and prevent any irreversible damage. Damage to the optic nerve cannot be reversed, so early detection is crucial. Treatment of can be done through medications such as eye drops or pills, or in some cases, laser treatment. Surgical procedures to form a new drainage channel in the eye are sometimes required when medication or laser treatments are not enough.
Can glaucoma be reversed?
There is no cure for glaucoma. Vision that is lost due to the disease cannot be restored. But early diagnosis and management of the pressure in your eyes is key to avoiding permanent damage to your eyes. Medications and eye drops are the typical early treatment options and they can lower your eye pressure, make the eye produce less fluid, or help fluid to drain from the eye. Surgery can open better drainage in the eye, but sometimes the trabecular meshwork can again become blocked.
Where can I get help?
At Central Florida Eye Institute, here in Ocala, Dr. Croley and his staff will take the time to explain this glaucoma and the variety of treatment options available. Early detection, education, and treatment are vital to ensure continued good vision. Understanding the condition and the importance of treatment and follow-up care is a shared responsibility. Contact us today at (352) 237-8400 to schedule your appointment.
Central Florida Eye Institute proudly provides the Ocala, Gainesville, Lady Lake, Leesburg, and Inverness, Florida area with glaucoma treatment. For more information call (352) 237-8400 or visit our Contact Us page to request a consultation today!